Realtors report home prices rise 10.2 percent over last year

The median price of an existing home in California increased 10.2 percent in April, while sales decreased 21.4 percent compared with the same period a year ago, the California Association of Realtors said in its monthly report.

“Sales fell this year compared with April 2005 when they hit the second-highest monthly pace on record. Concerns about the likelihood of future interest rate increases continue to influence the market,” said Vince Malta, state association president and a San Francisco Realtor. “While still near their historic lows, mortgage interest rates are at their highest level since June 2002 for fixed-rate mortgages, and August 2001 for adjustable-rate mortgages.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 516,960 in April at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 21.4 percent from the 658,060 sales recorded in April 2005.

The median price — half sell for more, half for less — of an existing, single-family detached home in California during April was $562,380, up 10.2 percent over $510,400 last year.

“At 10.2 percent in April, we’re seeing price appreciation trend toward a more sustainable rate for the California housing market,” said association VP and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Increased inventory levels are moderating the rate of price appreciation, but are still below what we experience in a more traditional market when thelong-term supply of unsold inventory is about 7 months.”

The Realtors reported the number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 42 days in April, compared with 28 days for the same period last year.

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